I never wanted to be a mother in the first place, but here I am now proudly one while struggling with my biggest fear of losing the ability to Mother full time because of my health.
I played with dolls when a little girl, I remember carrying them around as if they were my own little baby. I even wrapped a zucchini from our back yard in a blanket and cradled it like a baby for hours. That juvenile feeling of being so excited to be a mother, to care for something smaller and more fragile than the dainty little girl I was, the desire to be a grown woman. Then somewhere out of nowhere it vanished and my interests became heavy metal, GI Joes, and impressing my older brother by being anything but girly. The older I got the more distant that feeling of wanting to be a mother diminished until I least expected it.
My pregnancy was unexpected to say the least, at that time I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. I was a stuck up self centered 26 years old who wasn’t done being free.
But there I was, 23 weeks and 1 day pregnant when I found out… Surprise!
Yeah I know what you are saying “How did she not know?”. A whole cluster of reasons really. I was on the pill, there’s still that percentage of a chance, I don’t normally get my monthly friend and usually skip a few or several months at a time. I’ve had a number of undiagnosed womanly issues. I did not have many pregnancy symptoms and I previously lost weight so I thought I was just regaining it all back on plus some. So that is how I found out so late and such a surprise. I definitely noticed my feet hurting and my carpal tunnel acting up, I felt slightly crappier than normal but before showing symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, apparently women can go into remission when pregnant. Honestly the two kind of feel similar in some ways when you get into the later term of pregnancy so telling what was up when I normally felt crappy was difficult. I naturally had a million excuses of everything it could be but a bun in my oven. A little bundle of joy. In my mind it was a little bundle of holy crap what do I do.
I recently quit my beloved job at a spa in a beautiful spa in White Rock BC, devastated but working with 40 or so girls when your hormones are raging and you don’t yet know why was just too much for me. Drama Orama Batman. I tried to find new work in my field, but working was starting to get physically demanding at that point. My feet really hurt.
At that time I was questioning being a Mother myself, I wanted my own Mothers support but that was once again lacking in my life. My idea of what a mother was like started to sour sometime around school age, my own experience wasn’t the greatest you could say. It took me becoming a mother to see a lot of it. It took my illness to really see it. Therapy and some pharmaceutical drugs.
I called every women’s clinic and hospital in the city crying explaining my situation. I was scared because I had drank, not much, but yes I had a few beers. I was so scared I had harmed the baby inside me. Luckily though every time I did attempt at drinking I felt sick right away and never much finished my drinks. I was granted an abortion but they did not do the kind anywhere but Ontario or Seattle. Washington, I would have drive down to Seattle and it would be a 2 day long procedure. I booked for September 2012 but a pit of emptiness developed inside me. I felt like I was making a the biggest mistake of my life.
I just didn’t want to be alone.
I found myself looking at baby clothes and items in stores. I found myself in tuned to my body more. Then I found him kicking. There was absolutely no way I could do anything to this baby but love the unexpected cherub. I knew I already did, unconditionally. I started hoping for a boy and set on my favorite boy’s name Jacob before I even knew the sex. It didn’t take long for me to figure out fleeing from this would be the worst decision of my life. At that moment I decided to attempt at growing up and become a mother.
A dramatic 14 weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I gave birth to my son Jacob on December 13 2012.
His father and I didn’t last long after the birth. I was not ready to settle down but I was scared to be a single mom, I was torn. I had an idea how hard it was from seeing other women go through it. But I bit the bullet and went out on my own. I saw my parents volatile relationship and thought how it was when I was a child, to see them always argue. I was scared of that.
I never once thought I would be a sick single mother though. Now that I am, I remember times when I felt far better than I did now, what mothering was like then before Rheumatoid Arthritis became so persistent in me, I only had a few precious years before disability hit and I felt the struggle of it. I remember when Mothering wasn’t so physically painful or tiring in ways I feel guilty about and it torments me. I didn’t need so much rest, time away or help. I didn’t need quiet moments so Mommy can focus on not thinking about the pain. I didn’t need so much help.I didn’t need so much money. I didn’t need to fight so hard.
The first few years of Motherhood seem like a blur, it went by so fast and I cherish every memory as Rheumatoid Arthritis makes them slip out of my mind. I often miss him being a tiny baby but now with my Arthritis I find I am enjoying the more independent he becomes. It gives me time to rest and I don’t have to carry him around so much. Yet I miss it. I miss those times because I could hold a baby without pain.
In many ways I am thankful for my hidden pregnancy. You never know what will happen in life and sometimes those steps that feel like they might be the scariest but are actually what make you the happiest. I’ve never once looked back and wished I went a different path. It might be the hardest thing in my life to do and to keep up, making sure everyday and every step is right for my son but it is also the most rewarding. I am thankful I had him when I did, you never know what it around the corner in life.